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How to tame skittish rats and make them trust you

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RatQueen2019

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Joined
Jan 11, 2019
Messages
12
Location
Mississauga, ON, Canada
I have new rats and I also have some older rats. My older rats like me and love giving me kisses but they don't completely trust. My new rats dislike handling and are scared of me but they like to check out mt hands and give me kisses sometimes. Any tips?
 

RatQueen2019

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2019
Messages
12
Location
Mississauga, ON, Canada
Oh and be comfortable with being pet. One of my boys is obsessed with giving me kisses so I can't give him pets but the other will move their head away from hand or move somewhere although they enjoy getting pet.
 

Big Schpog

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Jul 8, 2020
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Location
British Columbia
I can't even hold my girls while they're eating but they trust me. They like to run to a corner and eat their snacks because that's what rats are programmed to do BUT they completely trust and love their Momma. I can shoulder ride ALL of them and pet them. The younger two LOVE to give me kisses and lick me but won't sit still sometimes and will squirm. Each rat has a different personality. Only one of my rats will run up to my face and give me nose licks. The other two just don't do that.

Maybe when they're older they might not mind being held while they eat but I don't see that as trust. If your rats are comfortable being picked up and like being pet and you're not getting bit then I'd say that's trust. Trust takes time but there's some things rats just don't like. It doesn't mean they don't love and trust you.

When I pick my rats up they will sometimes squirm to get down. I let them get down. Not everything has to be on your terms for trust.

How long have you had these rats? Did you have them from just weaned or were they adopted from another situation?

I'd start with shoulder rides to new places and allowing them to sniff other places. They will walk around your body while you walk with them. Rats love to explore new places. YOu know how their noses are always going. LOL

I wouldn't worry too much about being able to hold them upside down while they're eating. Just take lots of time with them, lots of fun things and lots of lickable treats put on your hand/fingers because they need to learn that hands mean positive things. I have had the best luck with homemade custard. Every single rat I've ever had just LOVES it. I don't put much sugar in it but it is sweetened. There are other things you can use too. Rats love whipped cream too. It's not something I give every day but when I do it builds good feelings between me and my rats.

I think if your rats like being stroked and you are hand feeding them and taking them for shoulder rides you are ahead of the game. It already sounds like you're building a good relationship with them.

OH and let the boy that loves kissing you, pick him up and walk with him while he gives you kisses and pet him.
 

Big Schpog

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Messages
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British Columbia
Rat proofing and free roaming are a must imho for rats to be fully integrated into a family. Sharing good food is a first step but allowing that free time with you is second to none when it comes to allowing your rats to explore their surroundings and you. They have to do things on their terms too, using what mechanisms are specific to rats so they can feel comfortable.
 

Big Schpog

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Jul 8, 2020
Messages
245
Location
British Columbia
How do you know if they the rats trust you?
I've thought about this question and I think about it a lot. I think the simplest answer would be when they seek you out to interact with you. When they come to you and climb on you or ask for things like treats. Rats are highly social and they should always be considered part of a family. Part of being in a family is interacting with other members. When a rat seeks you out for any kind of interacting, I think that's trust.
 

Big Schpog

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Jul 8, 2020
Messages
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Location
British Columbia
Congratulations! They LOVE sleeves. Have you taken them for walks while in your sleeve so they can feel safe and still sniff the world? That's the next step! I have a nice winter coat with adjustable sleeves and my girl LOVES going for walks while she's in my jacket. She will exit the sleeve at a few of her resting spots and nooks she likes along the way and then climb back in the sleeve when she's done. She also loves sitting on a park bench next to me and under the coat.
 

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